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Providing a pleasant off-road route between the two Des Moines suburbs of Urbandale and Johnston, the Johnston to Urbandale Trail also serves as one of the main points of connection from Urbandale's local trails system to the fantastic larger regional system. The trail passes by a host of city parks with a variety of recreational amenities, and leads you safely across the barrier formed by the interstate and into the serene, natural landscape of the Beaver Creek Natural Resource Area.
The trail begins in Urbandale just past the intersection of Meredith Drive and 84th Street, where the sidewalk widens into a larger paved path to accommodate biking and other uses. Passing through the small Meredith Park, the trail enters into Sharon Heights Park, where additional picnic tables and a playground provide a nice opportunity to relax with the family. Winding through quiet neighborhoods with plenty of tree cover for shade, the trail passes by a series of Little League baseball fields and then heads east, where a short path allows users to access Sylvan Ridge Park and it's recreational facilities, as well as portable restrooms. Crossing 72nd Street and turning north, the trail passes under the interstate highway and emerges into another suburban neighborhood with another charming city park (Northview Estates Park) - an elementary school lies just to the east, making this trail a great resource for local kids to walk or bike to school. Past the homes, the trail follows the path of the scenic Beaver Creek in an area teeming with deer, waterfowl, and other wildlife. The trail comes to an end at the Beaver Creek Greenbelt Trail, which offers a means of extending your journey and exploring more of the area around the creek, or which can be used to get on the Johnston Interurban Trail, which in turn can carry you into Johnston's downtown or further south along even more area trails.
No dedicated parking is available for the trail or at any of the parks along the route. Street parking may be available nearby; be sure to follow any posted parking signs.
The trail's start in Urbandale is located on Meredith Drive. From Interstate 35, take exit 129 and proceed south on 86th Street towards Urbandale. Turn left onto Meredith Drive; the trail begins in Meredith Park just past the intersection with 84th Street.
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